The Netherlands halts financial support for UNRWA

Photo: Dutch News

The Netherlands is halting financial support for the UN’s aid organisation UNRWA following claims by Israel that 12 of its workers helped Hamas during the October 7 attacks, Dutch media said on Saturday.

“We are extremely shocked. The claim is that UN money, our money, was used to carry out the October 7 attacks,” the minister is quoted as saying by NOS.

The US, Britain, Italy and Finland are among the other countries to have temporarily stopped providing aid to UNRWA pending an investigation into the claims. Van Leeuwen said on Friday that “the Netherlands will closely follow and weigh the outcome of the investigation when considering future Dutch financial contributions”.

UNWRA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, provides health care, education and other humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank and the Middle East. It employs around 13,000 people inside Gaza and is the main relief organisation there, the BBC said.

An adviser to the Israeli prime minister told the BBC on Friday that the October 7 attacks  involved “people who are on their [UNRWA] salaries”.

He also said there was information showing that teachers working in UNRWA schools had “openly celebrated” the killings.

The Netherlands donated €19 million to UNRWA last year, according to the foreign affairs ministry budget for 2023.

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